Saturday, October 25, 2008

Trials and Tribulations

A cross-post from my "professional" work blog at

Do you ever have those weeks where you just want to foist your kids off on someone else for awhile? Or wonder, maybe for a moment, why the heck you EVER thought it was a good idea to become a parent?

Yeah. It's been one of those weeks. And the week didn't get any better. There were some days I tried to come up with all kinds of extra work at the office so I could put off going home. That didn't work too well, they just called and harassed me at work. "When are you coming home? What are we having for dinner? Can I have a snack? Have you seen my library books? Where are my blue pants? So and so said such and such about whatsitsname...blah blah blah blah...."

It wasn't just a normal bad kid week. It was a bad bad kid week. Unruly got kicked off the bus. Again. Yes, my second grader is well on her way to becoming a delinquent. This is the second time she's been booted from the bus for bad behavior so she already has a rap sheet.

Why was she foisted from the bus this time? Oh. Because she punched two kids in the face. Just. Like. That. Wham. Wham.

"Mom, they kept picking on me and wouldn't leave me alone even though I asked them to leave me alone, so I hit them."
Of course, to hear her tell it, she didn't mean to hit them in the face, she meant to push them away, the face punching thing was an accident. I was torn between giving her a high five for standing up for herself and locking her little fingers in one of those Chinese finger torture devices for hitting. Hitting isn't allowed, she knows this.

It's one of those fine lines a parent tiptoes. I do want her to stand up for herself, I do want her to be able to tell someone "no" when they are doing something she doesn't like and expect they will comply. I don't want to raise a little wimp who sits back and refuses to stick up for herself and is the one who gets beat up because she's a little pansy. But when do you cross that line from self-defense to assault? It can be a tough conversation to have with a 7-year-old!

So, she lost her bus privileges. On what planet is this a punishment for kids? It's a punishment to parents, no doubt, but she was loving it. Instead of spending 45 minutes on the big stinky, noisy bus, she got chauffeured to the school's front door in about 10 minutes. She got to sleep in for a week because she didn't have to catch the bus. How is that punishment?

She did lose her TV privileges for the week and I found some pretty boring chores for her to do. Whether that works remains to be seen.

Have I mentioned the craptacular kids behavior comes in pairs? No? They do. While I'm dealing with the youngest's inability to keep her little fists to herself, I'm also dealing with the oldest's inability to remember to do homework of any kind. I have not seen her bring home a single book all year long, and she is failing classes. At this rate she'll be lucky to graduate from high school before she turns 21.

I ask, every day, "do you have homework? Do you need help with homework? Did you bring anything home to study?" And every day, the answer is the same, "I did my homework at school and I don't 'have anything to study." I know she's lying, but how do I prove she didn't do her homework at school? She's 16 and she's responsible for assuring her homework is done. I can't go digging through her locker every day for homework and calling teachers at night to double check assignments. She's 16, she's past the age that I should be following up behind her to make sure she did her homework. Heck, I can't even get her to bring one. freaking. textbook. home.

Friday I got a call from her English teacher. She's failing English even worse than before (how low can an F really go?) and neglected to turn in a pretty big assignment. An assignment that was apparently mostly completed IN CLASS. How the heck do you not turn something in that you've done in class? I don't understand and she has so far been unable to explain this particular phenomenon.

Between the KO Queen and the Homework Evader, I'm at my wits end. I wonder how much I'd get for them on Craigslist...


Alicia said...


I'm right there with you with the hitter (Rock) and homework dodger (HardPlace). If you come up with a solution to either problem, let me know.

Actually, the boys' school has been great in helping them. Is there any chance of moving yours to a smaller, private school? The smaller classes have been a godsend for both of them.

As eager as I am to go back to Maryland when I'm no longer needed in Arizona, part of me thinks I should stay here for the kids' sake. I know that the public schools cannot respond to the boys' particular needs as immediately and pointedly as this little Catholic school has.

Good luck...

kristi said...

I feel your pain. My oldest keeps bringing home bad progress reports..she has gone to tutoring MANY times this year. It is frustrating!